Related Insights

Coalition Letter Opposing DHS Social Media Retention

A coalition of civil liberties organizations, including CDT, wrote to the Department of Homeland Security to express concerns with the DHS System of Records Notice, issued on September 18, 2017 that states that DHS will now store social media information in ‘Alien Files’, which include the official record of an individual’s visa and immigration history. Alien registration numbers, and their related A-File, are assigned to people who plan to make the United States their home, and also to certain categories of non-immigrants who are granted employment authorization.

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Coalition Letter Calling for Improvements to USA Liberty Act

CDT and dozens of other digital rights groups released a letter calling on Congress to improve the USA Liberty Act by closing the backdoor search loophole that the bill leavers open. Using this loophole, the US government searches the communications content of US persons without obtaining a warrant. It does this by combing through the millions of communications it seizes every year under the authority Congress gave it in Section 702 of FISA to conduct surveillance of foreigners outside the U.S.

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Letter to Congress Re: FISA Section 702 Reauthorization – What We Know Now

The undersigned civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, and government oversight organizations write to urge you to vote “no” on reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act if it is not significantly reformed. While Congress had little information on how this program worked when it last voted on this law in 2012, the new disclosures we describe below underscore the need for amendments to better protect privacy and civil liberties.

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CDT Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Carpenter v. US

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Carpenter v. U.S., a case to determine whether the 4th Amendment requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant to access location data held by a cell phone company. In this case, the government obtained four months of stored location records with a less protective court order while investigating a robbery.

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CDT's Complaint to the FTC on Hotspot Shield VPN

CDT asks the FTC to investigate the data security and data sharing practices of Hotspot Shield Free Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, a product of AnchorFree, Inc. Hotspot Shield Free VPN promises secure, private, and anonymous access to the internet. This complaint concerns undisclosed and unclear data sharing and traffic redirection occurring in Hotspot Shield Free VPN that should be considered unfair and deceptive trade practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

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Simplifying Section 702 and the EU-US Privacy Shield

The E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement assists in the free flow of commerce by allowing companies to transfer data between the European Union and the United States, but it could be in jeopardy if U.S. surveillance law is not reformed. The Privacy Shield agreement was built on assurances that the U.S. would not subject Europeans’ data to “indiscriminate mass surveillance.”

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Section 702: Simplifying the Backdoor Search Loophole

Although U.S. persons cannot be targeted under Section 702, their communications with non-U.S. persons can be collected and retained for years. The NSA, CIA, and FBI can query 702-acquired information using a U.S.-person identifier, without a warrant or court order. This loophole allows the government to bypass the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless searches.

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LabMD v. FTC: Tackling "Unfair" Data Security Practices in the Eleventh Circuit

The latest skirmish in the nearly seven-year battle between diagnostic testing company LabMD and the FTC begins on Wednesday, June 21st, as oral arguments are held in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral argument may elucidate thinking around two key questions: (1) What are the contours of a “substantial injury” when evaluating unfair data security practices and how should data security’s costs and benefits be evaluated? and (2) What constitutes fair notice and “ascertainable certainty” of the FTC’s expectations for “reasonable” data security?

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